Blizzard of 2015

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for the state of New Hampshire, ordering federal aid to help state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by a snowstorm during Jan. 26 to 28.

The declaration says federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and repair in Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford counties, which got up to 32 inches of snow.

Sheryl Rich-Kern for NHPR

A staggering two feet of snow landed in southern New Hampshire yesterday. And while it didn’t create any disasters, many in the Nashua area are digging their way out. 

As Tuesday’s storm bogged the Nashua region with heaping banks of fluffy snow, many hunkered in their homes. That made it easier for city crews to work through the day and night, clearing the roads for Wednesday.

While most businesses reopened, public schools remained closed, and many residents are still clearing the snow from their cars and driveways.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Power outage maps and info: PSNH (Eversource Energy) | Unitil | National Grid/Liberty | NH Electric Co-op

School and other emergency closings from WMUR

511NH real time traffic/road closure information

Can you safely take a storm photo? , and make sure to tell us the town in which it was taken. Email it our way!

8:13 a.m. Wednesday: Nashua, Durham Work to Get Back to Normal

  Cleanup is underway across New Hampshire today, after yesterday’s blizzard.

We check in with two communities hit hardest by the storm: Nashua and Durham.

Let’s start with Nashua, which saw 33 inches of snow.

Justin Kates is the city’s director of emergency management.

How are things looking this morning?

I think we’ve made significant improvements. We’ve had crews out all night. We had crews out all day yesterday. These plow drivers have really been working nonstop to clear those roads as much as possible. We’re seeing some really good improvements today.

Do you feel confident that roads are clear enough that people can get out and about this morning?

I do. I think the big concern for folks is they’re going to want to give themselves some extra time this morning to ensure their driveways are clear. Those roads are still a little icy, so it’s still important for people to drive safe if they have to go out this morning.

What about parking on city streets?

At 10 a.m. this morning, parking will be allowed on city streets as well as those municipal surface lots.

What about other concerns besides roadways? Have there been any other lingering issues from the storm?

Thankfully with this storm, we didn’t have any power outages, which certainly brings a concern to the emergency management office. We didn’t have to open up any shelters and for the most part, it was just a significant snow event that really impacted our public works department. Thankfully, there weren’t really any other concerns other than keeping those streets clear.

Speaking of your public works department, how about the budget? We’ve got many more storms on the horizon and it’s only the end of January.

One of the things I think we do pretty well in the city is to plan for these kinds of events. There’s a snow budget already in place here in the city as well as a trust fund in the event that we have one of those significant winters like we’ve had in the past. I think we’re ready to go if we see continue to see more snow like this throughout the winter.

Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig also joined Morning Edition.

What are you seeing in Durham today?

We had quite a storm yesterday. We took measurements yesterday evening and parts of Durham had up to 28 inches of snow.

How’s it looking for snow removal?

It’s been hard sledding, to be honest with you. A storm like this requires that our snow fighters in the public works department sometimes go for as long as 24 hours with only short breaks for meals and naps. At this time, we have more or less had to send all of our staff home to rest because they had been going more than a day without stopping.

We have all of our main roads cleared. We have most of the sidewalks in the downtown cleared. But all of the sidewalks extending into our ancillary neighborhoods, around the downtown into some of the more distant parts of the community will have to wait for about another day so we can muster the resources to clear those out.

Looking ahead, there are some other storms on the horizon. How’s the town budget?

The town budget is good. We begin our fiscal year Jan. 1, so we’ve really just begun with a new fiscal year. I have to say we were running on fumes until Dec. 31, but we’re recharged now with a new fiscal year. That’s good news, but storms like this are costly. In salt alone, Durham went through about $10,000 in this storm. And the total cost of cleanup is going to be somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000. I’m betting around $35,000, toward the high end.

When do you feel like you’ll be back to normal in Durham?

It’s hard because clearing the roads is just the first step. In the downtown in particular, we have very large snow piles and we need to bring in special loaders and dump trucks in order to cart all of that snow away. To make matters worse, we have more snow coming in this weekend, with more than a foot or more expected next Monday.

  6:16 a.m. Wednesday: Cleaning up the Mess

New Hampshire is digging out from a strong winter storm that dumped more than two feet of snow in some places.

Gov. Maggie Hassan said government will reopen Wednesday after shutting down when the storm blew through on Tuesday. Some schools will remain closed for a second day and strong winds into Tuesday night meant snow drifts were likely to pop up on some roads.

Snowfall totals ranged from a few inches north of the White Mountains to more than 3 feet along the coast. Wind speeds of 30 to 35 mph and gusts up to 50 mph blew drifts that reached rooflines in some places.

Wednesday is expected to be cold and dry but more snow could reach the state starting Thursday night.

5:10 p.m. Tuesday: Overview of the Storm

A major winter storm blanketed New Hampshire Tuesday, but ample warning, a declared state of emergency and what Gov. Maggie Hassan called good old Granite State common sense kept problems to a minimum. Here's an overview of the storm so far, via The Associated Press: